The best books have at least one thing you take away that changes how you approach life. Here are 5 of my favourites.
Stoic books, articles etc
Epictetus leaves us with some quotes that he likes
In the second last part, Epictetus talks about the usefulness of philosphy itself
If I had a favourite motivational phrase, it would come from this part
Never wave from what you have decided is right
Value comes in the application of ideas, not in their understanding
Sights on the path from lay person to Stoic
Don't brag about how humble you are.
The first rule of Stoicism: don't vomit up Stoicism
The only actions we can truly understand are our own
Fight Club Stoicism
We can choose how we approach and issue; we should chose a way that allows us to maintain our Stoic mindset.
People act according to their own judgements; and if they are wrong, it is no business of ours
The body should be tended to, but the mind should be where our focus lays.
What sort of women should you desire?
What do you do when you fall off the Stoic bandwagon? With its focus on things which are completely in our control, failing at Stoicism leaves nowhere to hide - every failure is completely on your own head.
We should limit our desires to our physical necessities
Our mental state is at least as important to us as our body, so we should afford it the same level of care.
You have a duty to do good in the world; don't screw it up by over-reaching.
Take into consideration both your own needs and the effect that satisfying them has on others.
I mentioned this quote on a forum a little while back, and was suprised by the response, though in hindsight it makes sense.
As with a lot of Stoicism, the basis of this peice of advice is to eek out some space between action and reaction.
This part is chock full of small peices of related advice on how to practically approach daily Stoicism.
Here we have another dense, religion-focused peice. To be honest I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around it.
To honour your gods, you must focus solely on that which is in your control
Finding enlightenment in a pile of ceramic shards
Discovering your appropriate duties by looking at your relationships
This is a long one, but a good one.
A recurring theme in The Enchiridion, and Seneca's work too, is that we too easily give others influence over us. We should take as much care of our minds as we do our bodies.
Is this a riddle?
Some advice on how to bring perspective to loss and grief
Everything comes at a cost. If you don't pay that cost, you can't expect to recieve the thing.
This is a long, back and forth argument with a presumably imaginary opponent, about how persuing Stoicism fits in with civic and social duties.
More of the standard Stoic advice
Here we see a practical warning about the persuit of philosophy.
This is possibly the single most useful bit of practical Stoic advice I've come across.
Here we cover similar ground to part 5's Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinions about the things
When I first read this I wasn't all that impressed. It seems circuitous and unhelpful.
Part 18 covers much the same ground as part 10. I add in some examples too
This part is a concession to fate, and a reiteration of the dichotomy of control.
I remember being offended by this the first time I read it. It seemed to be advising dishonesty and trickery.
A brief explanaiton of the week since I last wrote
This part has both my most and least favourite sections of Epictetus' writing.
Standard Stoic fare here, with some confonting examples.
Epictetus gives us a warning about some things to watch out for
This one gets a bit convoluted, but it also has two of my favourite lines.
The Stoic beleif in God and fate shines through here, but there's still a lot to be taken from it.
Some practical advice on how to implement the ideas in parts 8 and 9
Once again we have an example of the dichotomy of control, with a practical twist.
Wish the things which happen to be as they are
More warnings about attachment, and a phrase I can't work out
Part 6 is a warning against taking pride in your posessions
When something bad happens to us, what is it that actually causes the harm?
Be prepared. It'll help you keep your sanity.
Now things start to get challenging
Expanding on part 1, Epictetus goes into some detail about why desiring things not in your control is a bad idea.
Epictetus doesn't mess around: the opening paragraph of part 1 of the Enchiridion sets the stage for all Stoic philosophy
Examining the major writings of my favourite Roman Stoic
Stoicism is a somewhat familiar idea to most people. It's usually characterized as a from of emotional dishonesty, where you put on a brave face, or further to the extreme, deny yourself the ability to feel. My parents were very much of the former school of thought, which may be why Stoicism sits fairly comfortably with me.
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